Down Syndrome Indiana is seeing an increase in the number of calls that it gets related to adult life issues. Guardianship is one of the issues at the top of the list. You see, once a child turns 18 they become their own legal guardian unless steps are taken ahead of time to have a legal guardian in place. If you pursue guardianship of your child, I highly recommend beginning the guardianship process when your child turns 17 so that you have everything in place when your child’s 18th birthday rolls around. This is very important because it can take several months to get an appointment with your county court! Below is a simple checklist of items to help guide you in the right direction….
1. Prior to your child’s 17th birthday, please make sure you have a regular doctor that you see at least on an annual basis;
2. When your child turns 17, talk to your doctor about guardianship. Your doctor will give you paperwork to fill out. Fill out and return in a timely manner;
3. When your child turns 17, contact an attorney that is versed in guardianship to help you through the process. DSI can give you a list of attorney’s names that other parents have used;
4. Celebrate your child’s 18th birthday without worries!
5. There is paperwork that needs to be filled out for the court on a regular basis if you become your child’s guardian. Please talk with your attorney to make sure you understand the follow up work that needs to be done.
Please note that if you would like to send your child’s name and birthdate to DSI, we are more than happy to send you a reminder letter around your child’s 17th birthday. You can also find out additional information by visiting our Ask the Expert page at: http://www.dsindiana.org/Guardianship.php.
It is my pleasure to serve you,
Lisa Wells, Executive Director